My Tire Gauge


I knew what she was going to say before she said it.

When you really know somebody well, you not only know what they are going to say before they say it, but you often know what they are going to say before they do.

She was wearing her don’t freak out expression.

“What?” I asked.

“Don’t freak out,” she said.

“I promise I won’t,” I told her.

“Do you really promise or are you just saying that?”

I placed my hand over my heart. “I promise I will not freak out.”

“Because you often do….”

“I promise, now what do you want to tell me?”

“A light on my dashboard says a tire is low on pressure.”

“Why would you make a big deal out of that?”

“I know you.”

“Okay then, how low is the pressure?”

“26 lbs.”

It should read 30 lbs, but seriously, this was no big deal. Fortunately, we were filling her car with gas when she noticed, and the Quickie-Mart is one of the last remaining places on earth to provide a working air pump.

All we had to do was add four lbs of pressure.

We pulled around to the side of the building where a long red hose lay coiled on the pavement. At the end of the hose, a brass nozzle hissed softly in the snow.

“Where is your tire pressure gauge?” I asked.

Her expression replied, “I don’t know.”

But the glove compartment seemed a logical place to start searching, so I opened the door.

Good Grief! I wanted to say (but wisely did not). How could she jam so much trash into such a small space without using an industrial compactor?

(I wisely did not say that either.)

On top rested a layer of Kleenex, not pristine unused Kleenex, mind you.

Beneath the Kleenex, I found a wad of insurance cards.

This was not a bad thing. A proof of insurance card is necessary in the event of an accident or a traffic stop. Except none of the cards were current – or even for her current vehicle.

Next came the manuals.

One was the big hard cover manual that tells you everything but what you need to know. The other was the thin flier written by the Customer Experience Team that explains how to do everything but change the time on the dash clock – which you have to do twice a year: spring and fall.

Beneath the manuals were more pencils than common sense would dictate.

And receipts, some dating back years before the car’s date of manufacture.

And discount cards for businesses that no longer existed.

And among all of these things were scattered a wild assortment of hard candy and breath mints.

But not a single tire pressure gauge.

“Before you freak out,” she said, “check the center console.”

I did and it was worse than the glove compartment – but still no tire pressure gauge.

So we winged it. I gave the tire a long shot of air.

“Now what does the display say the pressure is?” I asked.

“No change,” she replied.

“Don’t worry,” I told her. “it takes a couple of miles for your dash indicator to report the true pressure of your tires.”

“Are you lying to me?”

“No, why do you ask?”

“You are wearing that look you get when you are lying to me.”

“You will just have to trust me,” I told her as we drove toward home.

A few miles later, just as I predicted, the pressure indicator updated itself. It now read 24 lbs, for a loss of two pounds.


“You promised you wouldn’t freak out.”

“I can’t help it,” I told her, “first I can’t find the freak’n tire gauge and then the pump doesn’t work. Have you any idea where your stupid gauge might be?”

“Might be?”

She didn’t say another word. Not one until we got home.

“Follow me,” she said after she shut the engine off.

I trailed her through the kitchen, down the hall and into the bedroom, where she pointed to my bedside table.

And sure enough, there it was.

“It is where you always leave things.”

So humbled yet again, I checked the pressure in each of her tires and filled the ones that were low. After that I serviced my truck and having a compressor and gauge handy, I inflated the tires on everything that rested on wheels: the riding lawn mower, the wheel barrow, the two-wheeled cart and the rotor-tiller.

That night when emptying my pockets to get ready for bed, I discovered the tire gauge still clipped to the breast pocket of my shirt.

I set it gently on the nightstand, and making sure it remained in clear view, I resolved to put it back where it belonged in the morning.

I mean, resolving to do something is just as good as doing it.  Right?

Author: Almost Iowa

46 thoughts on “My Tire Gauge”

  1. I always hope that wherever I go for air, there is a tire gauge built in because I have no idea where mine is. But I’ll find it when I don’r need it. Then I’lli misplace it again..:)

    1. I always like the air pump at the old Standard station near where I lived in my 20’s. It had a mechanical display that scrolled numbers and was visible from several car length away (for trailers, I suppose) – but alas, that and many other things we enjoyed are long gone.

    1. It is – but the most common style of pressure gauge is about the same size and shape as pencil and she had at least 50 pencils in her glove box – but then if we were looking for a pencil, I would imagine that we would find 50 tire pressure gauges. 🙂

  2. If it makes you feel any better, I have no idea where the tire gauge is in my car, either. And I’m a bit of a neat-freak. But no worries, the next time your wife needs hers, she’ll know exactly where it is!

  3. Love this because it is very timely. Just a few weeks ago, I got the same message on my truck. So, we both start searching for a tire gauge and come up with one. Off to the gas station we go to pay $1.50 for air. There’s a post for you. Why do we pay for air??? Sorry, I digress. We pull up deposit the money, it comes back out, it’s not working. Off we go to the next station, put the money in, it is working. The only problem is that is only wants to put 30 lbs in and I need 32. After a lot of grumbling and a few miles on the road, the message did go off. Who knew cars could be smart enough to tell us a tire needs air, but that it would be such a major pain in the butt to fill it. At least you’re safe for a while now because you filled everything. 🙂

  4. Oddly we’ve managed to end up with multiple tire pressure gauges in our car. And by “oddly” I mean me misplacing one, thinking it was lost forever and buying another one, only to find it a day or two later 🙂

  5. It’s a good thing for a man to have a wife to keep track of where the stuff is. 😉 My husband would heartily agree, I swear!
    Yesterday he was driving down the highway and noticed that his car was smoking like the stack of the steam locomotive in town. Mind you, this is a late model BMW. That evening I asked him if he had any idea why Kyra’s dog food was scattered all over the driveway and down to the road (she preferred grazing to going on our walk). He put 2 and 2 together to get 5 – mice that is. They’ve been stashing the pilfered food on his catalytic converter. Guess they prefer it toasted!

    1. That is HILARIOUS!! It is the kind of thing that would happen around here. We have so many mice that we keep our pet food in stainless steel trash cans. Yes, that means we have to protect cat food from mice. Something just sounds wrong about that.

  6. A glove box can be like a handbag…… enter at your own peril.
    My mechanic thinks those little gadgets are not accurate….. only large ones, which take up more space, and that is in short supply.
    When all else fails I turn on the charm and go to a tyre sales centre, and they check for free -even the spare and that’s a pain to get to.
    Modern vehicles can simply be too smart for their own good.

    1. Modern vehicles can simply be too smart for their own good.

      Ideas are great but the nature of nature itself ordains that most ideas are bad ideas. This is what Darwin told us over a century and half ago. The problem with modern life is that it accelerates the introduction of ideas, and therefore accelerates the introduction of bad ideas.

      1. Makes me wonder how humans got into the system…..Darwin never explained that to my satisfaction.

  7. That gage will be there the next time you need to inflate tires. I got so tired of the tire warnings and no air pumps I got my own. Haven’t had to use it in two years. Of course, the tires know I’m ready for them and refuse to deflate.

    1. The logical place for a tire gauge is in the tray on the air compressor (in addition to one being in the car). Having written that I resolve to move the gauge in the bedroom to the tray on the compressor…… one of these days.

    1. We have a junk drawer in the kitchen that has accumulated an amazing collection of stuff. A lot of it even falls into the “what in the world is this” category.

  8. I had no idea what the little triangle thing was on my dash, but it would not go off so I had to tell my husband. He never believes me that I know how much pressure should be in my tires. Some day I might just have to figure out how to use the dang machine so I don’t have to get ‘the look.’

  9. These are the things we do.

    Eventually, I had to buy my wife her own tire gauge. She guards it like a dog with a bone. It’s in her car, in it’s place. I have one too, but like yours, it’s patiently waiting to be returned to its place.

  10. I used to have a tire gauge. It lived in the glove compartment of my car. By the time I got done reading this, I was curious, and went down to the car to be sure it still was there. It wasn’t. It wasn’t in the trunk or under the seat. I checked my bedside table, and it wasn’t there, either. I guess it’s time to buy another one, so I can misplace it, too.

    1. Not a bad thing to have handy. It is also a good thing to make sure you have a “workable” jack and an aggressive wrench. but, uh, don’t get me started on the “doughnut” spare tires. In cold regions, about this time of year, it is common for wheels with aluminum rims to lose pressure and that is what happened.

      1. It’s common for that kind of pressure loss to happen here on our first really cold morning, too. I was in the middle of relative nowhere the first time it happened to me, but it was Thanksgiving day, so I drove on and crossed my fingers. Imagine my surprise when, after about ten miles, the warning light disappeared from the dash. The next morning, the same thing happened. Eventually, I figured it out.

        1. I have often wondered why it takes a few miles down the road to get an updated tire pressure reading. Perhaps this is by design because with use, road friction warms the tire.

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